Why We Fail to Innovate

Product Manager on Mac
What is innovation
Innovation is not primarily around novelty, it’s about value creation. Finding a new, better and more efficient way to solve a customer problem or need.
The purpose of any successful business is to create value for their customers. Of course, the reason behind it might be growth or ROI, but the purpose remains unchanged.
There is always a limit to the improvements that can be made with any product or service. So, there will be situations when we need to think of a completely new way of achieving a more efficient, value creation product.
Why do we fail to innovate
I identified the following 5 main reasons why we finding hard to innovate:
  • Searching for the big idea. If an opportunity is big and obvious, most likely, somebody else has already seen it. Placing small bets in the marketplace to validate concepts can help a lot in the innovative process.
  • The fear of failure. Not being in an environment that embraces failure as a way of learning makes it hard for people to innovate. Failure will come from trying new things. The trick is to fail quickly and inexpensively. As manager you should strive for a culture that embraces failure.
  • Analysis paralysis. Sometimes looking at the past data can generate good ideas to explore, but this doesn’t change the fact that human beings are terrible at envisioning things that don’t already exist. Thinking outside the box doesn’t come easy though, surround yourself with people that have worked in a varied of functions and businesses as their careers developed. They usually bring more value to the table.
  • Lack of customer focus. Understanding current and future customer needs is another factor affecting our ability to deliver innovative solutions. Build customer empathy in the your team, become deeply interested in their interests as people not as categories of consumers.
  • Slow company structure. Well established, large companies, have harder time innovating. They focus more on existing models, trying to protect their main source of revenue, ignoring opportunities that arise along the way.The decisions are taken really slow, which represent a big disadvantage in today’s market.
My conclusion

In order for people to innovate they need to prepare their mind for innovation (growth mindset, broad experience, customer-focused approach) and work in an healthy environment, that accepts failure and allows decisions to be taken rapidly.

“I became comfortable with failure—not with lack of effort, but with the fact that if you want innovation, you need to grant permission to fail.” – Bob Iger

What are your challenges when it comes to innovation and how do you mange to overcome them?

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